PMA ready to mobilise for Fiji Covid-19 support once greenlight is received

Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) assures a contingent of Fijian health professionals in New Zealand are ready to deploy to Fiji to help aid the country’s escalating Covid-19 crises. However, they are a wait instruction from the New Zealand government to proceed.

In a recent Radio New Zealand interview, PMA Chief Executive Mrs Debbie Sorensen said some overseas medical staff are in Fiji already, but it is not enough.

“The AUSMAT team, the Australians, have been deployed already and it has some New Zealand medical assistance team members as part of those, but it’s a very small number. We have been in discussion with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to say that we would be pleased to deploy, we are just awaiting people’s instructions.”

Mrs Sorensen told RNZ that a formal request needs to made by the Fiji Government to New Zealand for humanitarian assistance in the form of medical teams.

“New Zealand in particular has been keeping careful not to undermine a country’s right to determine what support they need. Sometimes as I said, when you’re under pressure in a country and you’re in the middle of a crises, it’s quite difficult to actually put your head up and say, this is what we need. There is some urgency in having a conversation with the government of Fiji and say, is there more that we can do for you?”

In the RNZ report, Mrs Sorensen said health professionals, doctors and nurses in Fiji are tired and have been working virtually with no break.

As we sit here in New Zealand and watch our colleagues and our families really struggle with responding to Covid 19, it does feel that New Zealand could be doing more. We understand New Zealand has contributed significantly to vaccines, to PPE gear, but my guess is that they are probably in desperate need now for actual human bodies to help them respond.”

Listen to the full interview here.

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Date: Friday 29 July 2021